how to improve your grip strength at the gym

Are you looking to Improve your grip strength for that next Deadlift PB? Or are you simply looking to open Jam Jars with the greatest of ease?

Well you’ve come to the right place, in this weeks grip blog we will discuss some great ways to Improve your grip strength.

Barbell Holds

Easy for you to perform in most gyms, this grip training exercise will feel familiar to you if you are a regular gym goer.

This can be performed not just as a stand alone grip exercise but incorporated into your current training regime which makes improving your grip strength even easier.

barbell holds

If you're training barbell rows, Deadlifts/Romanian Deadlifts, shrugs etc with a barbell you can simply just stand at the top of your lift holding the bar after you’ve finished the exercise, preferably with double overhand and no straps, this will greatly help your grip endurance and crushing power.

Try holding the bar for up to around 10 seconds extra at the top of your lift after each set, over time you will find holding on much easier, also it will just start to come naturally to you!

deadlifts

If you want to train this as a separate grip strength exercise you can simply begin by grabbing a barbell and setting it up on a rack just below the knees.

This shortens your range of motion, therefore saving precious grip energy, load the weight up to something that feels relatively comfortable to pick up, but you can feel peeling out the hands after around 10 seconds!

Try this for a couple of sets every week and you’ll be holding onto the earth before you know it!

Dumbbell Walks

Another really simple but effective way of improving your grip, again this is an exercise that can be incorporated into others exercises such as dumbbell squats or lunges, or performed as a stand alone grip strength exercise.

If your adding it into your current dumbbell movements then at the end of your set simply keep hold of the weights and have a little stroll, the movement of your body will put strain on the hands forcing your grip to adapt and the muscles constantly contract/relax.

Doing this exercise will require you to have a bit of space in the gym to move around, otherwise you'll have to dodge duck dip dive and dodge in between people and equipment!

Alternatively if there's some space outside why not perform the walks out there! There's nothing better than walking around in the fresh air while training your grip!

Grab a pair of dumbbells, pick them up keeping your arms by your side, make sure your core is tight and simply walk for around 20 seconds or until you can't hold the weight any longer. You don't want this to be too easy otherwise it beats the purpose so you want to be really struggling to hold on towards the end of the set. This will aid your support grip massively.

Pull Ups / Hangs

One of my favorites, not only will these really help your functional grip strength but they will also improve your wrist and shoulder mobility.

If you can do pull ups then that's great, keep working on those because they will really be testing your grip out already. If they are pretty comfortable for you why not try doing a few hangs after your sets, just keep hold of the bar for as long as you can.

To perform this exercise you will need a bar or something similar to grab onto above your head where you can hang from.

hangs

Your going to want to grab the bar and simply hang there, relaxing the rest of your body obviously keeping the grip tight.

This will be a great feeling decompressing your body and stretching out the muscles while building up the grip strength. If you fancy trying something a bit more challenging try hanging with one arm or on a thicker bar if you have access to one.

We built a pull up bar outside in the garden out of some old scaffolding and it works great.

I also saw a competition for this at a Theme Park where if you hung on a bar for 2 minutes you won a prize! So there's another reason to give it a go, guaranteed prizes at Theme Parks!

hangs

This really is one of the best exercises you can do for overall body health that involves grip training too!

I usually try to do this every time I arrive and leave the gym as a habit, my hang time has improved quite a bit but I have also noticed a huge difference in this aiding my posture and relieving any shoulder discomfort I used to get.

What could be better than improving your grip strength and mobility at the same time!

Wrist Mobility Stretches

One of the keys to unfathomable grip strength is having good wrist mobility. If like me, you're sat at your desk most of the day typing away on your computer then you're bound to have some wrist issues.

wrist stretches

Fear not, I will guide you on the path to pain free wrists. Most of these exercises can even be performed at your desk. Having good wrist mobility will aid recovery after big training sessions, allow you to work harder and thus improve your grip strength quicker.

Stretch 1

Starting off, put one arm out in front of you, palm facing straight forward, then using your other hand, place your fingers across the stretched out hand and pull the wrist backwards towards you, you will feel a great stretch across the wrist and down the forearm.

You can perform this a couple of times on each wrist. You can also perform this wrist extension by pressing the tips of your fingers up against your desk.

wrist stretches

Stretch 2

The next exercise is a wrist pronation/supination hold your hand out as if you were going to greet someone, with your other hand, reach over your outstretched hand and grab it from the little finger, then pull towards you twisting the wrist just enough so you are feeling the stretch, perform this on both sides a couple of times.

For the supination do the same thing but reach under the hand grabbing the thumb and pull towards yourself, also performing this a couple of times. 

Next up is a position you have probably seen before. Place your hands together fingertips to fingertips and push forcing the elbows outwards keeping the middle finger pointing upwards.

Hold this position for around 10 seconds then slowly rotate downwards trying to point your middle finger to the floor, hold this position at the bottom of your flexibility for around 10 seconds bringing it back up to the top.

Repeat this motion a few times! By now your wrists should be feeling much more relaxed !

Wrist Curls

As if by magic, just as your wrists are nice and loose we can move onto the wrist curls. There are so many different variations of this movement you can try, using all sorts of equipment to improve your grip strength using this easy motion.

A good place to start would be grabbing a dumbbell, one that you can pick up easily, Sitting or standing simply just roll the dumbbell down your fingers, not until you drop it! Just before then… and curl the weight back up tight in your hands.

This will improve your crush grip as well as give a great stretch down the wrist and forearm. You can also do this exercise on a cable machine with a classic straight bar, set the weight to the bottom of the machine then pick it up with both hands as you would a barbell then simply roll it down your hands, similar to the dumbbell squeezing it back up tight in your hands.

The main difference is the constant tension that the cable provides will be more challenging. You can wrist curl pretty much any piece of equipment, if your into your grip and have a rolling handle, set that up on the cable machine or attach it to some to bands, this will be very challenging testing your grip to the max.

Hand Grippers

These are a low cost and extremely effective way of improving your grip and overall forearm, wrist and finger strength.

hand grippers

They are ideal for not just bodybuilders but rock climbers, golfers, surfers, tennis players, musicians and massage therapists etc.

They will also be beneficial for aiding wrist injuries and aiding arthritis, tennis elbow, rheumatoid arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Adjustable Grippers

There are several types of hand grippers but in this section we will discuss the Adjustable hand grippers which are the best fit for everyone and recommended for new gripsters.

The adjustable grippers come with an ergonomically designed handle to fit both small and large hands, with the adjustable resistance providing everyone with a point they find comfortable and challenging.

adjustable hand gripper

One of the best things about these grippers is they are great for keeping on the desk at work to crush throughout the day without wearing down your hands due to the padded handle, they also come in handy when your having a bad day!

Just crush away at your leisure increasing your grip each day. These really are a very easy and effective piece of equipment to use if you are looking to improve your grip strength, these are our number 1 tip!

adjustable hand gripper

You can train with hand grippers in many different ways.

Regular Closes

This the standard close for hand grippers, just place it on your palm and fingers. Wrapping the fingers round squeeze the gripper together holding for a second or 2 then release it back out ready to squeeze again.

Best for overall hand grip strength.

Try this for 5 sets of 10 closes.

Inverted Closes

This time were using the grippers upside down, or inverted. The purpose of this is to work more on the index and middle fingers. Setting up in the same way spread across the palm and fingers.

Squeeze it together hold for a second or 2 and release. Great accessory for hand grip strength.

Try this for 5 sets of 10 closes.

Negative Closes

Negative closes are a great way to train your central nervous system to get used to this motion and builds up your crushing power.

Close the gripper as you would on regular position but release it as slow as you can. This is a very effective eccentric hand grip movement

Try this for 5 sets of 5 closes.

Pinch Style Closes

Similar to the inverted grip but much more focused on your middle and index fingers this will build up on your weakest areas.

You can alternate between fingers seeing what feels best for you. Good for building on hand grip weakness

Try these for 10 reps of 5 sets

Using these different hand gripper techniques will allow you to build up many different muscles in your hand wrist and forearm.

For a more In depth analysis of the above movements you can check out our in depth Hand Gripper Training Page.

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